Catholic Culture Podcasts
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another defeat for intolerance

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Oct 21, 2005

That "heroic sense of integrity" runs up against rank bigotry when operating in Nevada, and triumphs. The Worcester Voice reports:

Fr. James Aquino, pastor of Our Lady of Loreto Parish and Director of the Permanent Diaconate Program (training for new deacons), is allowed to stay in ministry after an October 21, 2004 sexual incident.

On October 21, 2004, two undercover Las Vegas police officers, while in an adult book store and theater, observed one Larry xxxx and Fr. James Aquino engaging in lewd conduct in a place open to the public ... Both men were escorted outside. Aquino said he had no identification on him -- checks were run on a fake social security number furnished by Aquino, with negative results. After a few minutes he admitted he had identification in his shoe, a Massachusetts driver's license. ...

[In reply to inquiries, Aquino's] attorney states he can not divulge matter of confidential nature, which affects innocent, honest individuals. Further, the lawyer replies Fr. Aquino was not arrested but rather issued a citation. The lawyer projects that the charges were dismissed, by the Justice court of Las Vegas, however in review of actual court documents, a plea bargain was arranged with the court by Father Aquino's counsel.

Please, please don't rush to judgment. I can think of lots of good reasons for being in an adult bookstore in Las Vegas with your driver's license in your shoe.* And the allegations were quite obviously false. I'm sure, were Aquino guilty, his lawyer would say so clearly. Isn't that what they usually do?

*OK, here's just one of the many obvious innocent explanations: While in Vegas preaching the Gospel, Fr. Aquino met Larry XXXX, and quickly converted him (Larry was with the Nation of Islam, I imagine). Fired by zeal, the new convert immediately became a candidate for the Worcester permanent deaconate. But Father A, being pastorally prudent, had the foresight to check for paraphimosis (one of the leading causes of ministerial "burnout"). He was conducting the necessary examination when anti-Catholic bigots surprised him, violating his privacy and threatening the confessional seal.

The incident leaves me with just one question. Wouldn't the Vegas police have realized Aquino was a priest when they saw his Roman collar?

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